Today is my birthday. To me it’s just another day, but last night I hosted a party with some friends and family to celebrate. We played games, laughed, and had a wonderful time. We even had ice cream and cake to celebrate the occasion. I’m at the age where you don’t put that many lit candles on a cake for fear of burning down the house. The same age when people start saying, “You’re not getting older, you’re getting better.” Yeah. That age.
Traditionally, on my birthday I like to think back over my life, especially the last year, and think about how blessed I am for making it to another year older. While I may have very well crested the hill, the path before me is still quite long and hopefully it will be many years before I see the end of the trail.
The last year has been full of ups and downs, thankfully more ups than downs. I became a great grandfather for the first time. As my dad always says, “The only problem with being a Great Grandpa is being married to a Great Grandma.” (Sorry, Hon, you know I love you!) My Great Granddaughter, Kodie, is such a delight. I envy her for the wondrous discoveries she will experience long after I’m gone, for time and technology wait for no one. In the meantime, I get to spoil her rotten then send her home to her parents. I celebrated my 32nd wedding anniversary this year. I got to watch my parents turn another year older and celebrate their 57th wedding anniversary. I saw a lot of great movies, ate enough popcorn for ten people, dined in some nice restaurants, made some new friends, and sadly, lost a few. We also lost our beloved cat, Ty. He was 16 and lived a long and happy, spoiled life. Once the emptiness of his passing healed, two weeks ago we adopted a new kitten. We call him Truffles, and like all kittens, he is into everything! He already has us wrapped around his tiny paw just the way he wants us.
I reached a mile marker in book sales this last year. To some, it might not be that impressive, but for a Midwestern boy from a small town, it’s more than I ever thought possible. And I’m not done yet. My second book will publish this spring. I’ve had so many wonderful comments about my first book and I know many of you are anxious for Book 2. My hope is that you’ll find Book 2 worth the wait.
As I continue to reminisce about my life, I’ve discovered three things I’d like to share with you all. 1) No matter how bad life might seem, things could always be worse. 2) What a difference a day can make. Tomorrow, a new day will dawn and with it the hope and promise of better things to come. I’ve been down so low I didn’t know where my next meal would come from, and I’ve bought food for complete strangers. Your whole life can change in the blink of an eye—sometimes for the better or sometimes for the worse. 3) There’s nothing like a good book when you’re feeling sad. We all need to escape at one time or another. What better way than to pick up a book and go to another time and place. In fact, that’s one of the main reasons why I write. If you come to read one of my stories and it makes you smile, then I’ve done my job. If it makes you forget about your problems, if only for a short time, then I’ve earned a far greater reward than any amount of money could ever offer. That’s why I write. That’s why I’ll continue to write.
In closing, I want to share a smile with you. As I write this blog, Truffles is lying on my mouse pad sleeping in the sunshine. He’s worn out from chasing the cursor across the screen and stepping on the keyboard. If this were the old days of quill and ink, my manuscript would be covered in smears and tiny paw prints. And I can’t help but laugh. After all, that’s what life is all about. That’s what growing older does to you. It makes you look for the good in things. I don’t know what the coming year holds in store for me, but I’ll make a deal with you. Good Lord willing, if you meet me here same time next year I’ll tell you all about it.